A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: damienannaaiden

Rain, Rain Go Away

A wet ride home

rain 64 °F

Woke up this morning to pouring rain. The two margaritas Linda and I had at the Texas Roadhouse where we ate last night, made for an early lights out last night, plus the fact we chose to walk back and forth. Right next door next to our Hampton Inn was a great looking Mexican restaurant, but it was closed for renovations. We are all packed and our rain suits are ready. We are H.O.G.s, tried and true! We figure in this weather, we will make the ride to Mattapoisett in six to seven hours. Hopefully, the rain will slow by the time we get to Massachusetts. I figure the rain, like at a wedding, is a harbinger of good luck for our fina l day of cycling on this glorious adventure.
The Hampton Inn supplied us with a huge breakfast this morning. Now, we just wait awhile in hopes of a little lessening of the rain. We will uncover the cycles and bring them out front under a nice protective overhang and load there.
The Patriots play Tampa Bay at one today in Foxboro, but, we will miss it.
We took off at ten and the rain was still coming down steadily. So another new experience, riding in a real rain. We just took it a little slower and were more careful on curves. By the time we got to Massachusetts, the rain had stopped and it was clear sailing the rest of the way.
So, the rain in Maine did not cause us to hydroplane, though did keep us in the slow car lane, and truly was a real pain, but couldn't drive either one of us insane,
When we were driving up the street in Mattapoisett into which the street on which we live connects, the fact that we had accomplished what we had set out to do really hit us. I raised my fist heavenward as a silent toast to our dear, recently departed friend Frank, whom I'm sure was watching over us on this journey. We had huge grins on our faces and we honked the air horn as we neared the house. Of course, the three grandkids were out to greet us in a flash, followed by Camus and our daughter. We got off the cycles, gave each other a big hug and kiss. The adventure had come to a close.

We got our motors runnin'
Headed out on the highway
Looking for adventure
Up north along Fundy's bay

Yeah, people
We sure made it happen
Took Nova Scotia in a love embrace
Stayed in Pictou, Cape Breton, Truro, and Digby
Set it up so we never had to race

We conquered the Cabot Trail
Through mist and rain and wind
We saw the tidal bore
As its wave came steadily roaring in

Yeah, people
We sure made it happen
Took Nova Scotia in a love embrace
Stayed in Pictou, Cape Breton, Truro, and Digby
Set it up so we never had to race

Like a true Harley steed
The Road King & Fat Boy
Met our each and every need
Through cold, and rain and mist
Never gave us reason to be pissed
Performing greatly, we agreed
Our expectations they did exceed

2000 miles under our belts
Making new friends along the way
Awed by such beautiful scenery
At every turn on every day

Yeah, people
We sure made it happen
Took Nova Scotia in a love embrace
Stayed in Pictou, Cape Breton, Truro, and Digby
Set it up so we never had to race

Like true H.O.G.s we did soar
We were born
Born to explore
We loved the freedom of the ride
Two partners,side by side
Awaiting the next open door
Awaiting the next open door

Posted by damienannaaiden 19:05 Archived in USA Tagged homeward bound Comments (0)

Back to the US of A

Ferry

overcast 50 °F

Well, we got up at 5:55am and got everything ready. Went for the continental breakfast that I never knew existed, and then too off for the ferry. I had awakened at 4am to put onmy seasickness patch that Jess had sent to me--yeah Jess!
There were six cycles going on the ferry and we rode across a metal, wet loading platform, that felt a wee bit hairy, but did it. Tied up the cycles and then went upstairs where we watched a movie: "Gatsby." was okay. Arrived in St John at eleven, and actually got off quickly. Had to pull over on the highway to dress warmer and put on our gorgeous bright rain suits since the mist was so heavy it felt like rain. A Mountie (in a car, not on horseback) pulled up to make sure we were all right. Very nice of him. Made it to the border and then had to play stop and go until we finally reached the checkpoint. They were actually searching cars, but let us through very quickly. Took route 9 to Bangor, now back on eastern time, and had lunch. Met up with some Canadian cyclists headed the other way.
Made it to Augusta, Maine and pulled Tito a Hampton Inn. Ate at Roadhouse, and had two margaritas--lucky to make it back here walking. Linda and I were propping each other up! We are exhausted. Tomorrow's weather is calling for rain. So, we shall see how things go.

Posted by damienannaaiden 17:27 Archived in Canada Tagged home almost Comments (0)

Last Day on Nova Scotia

Done

sunny 73 °F

Arose late to brilliant sunshine. Linda and I looked at each other and both new we were done. My back was sore. We knew we still had a long ride home. We praised the ferry. But alas, we knew there would be no real riding today. Therewerecertainly places to go and beauty to see, but that will have to wait for another trip. Nova Scotia has been everything and more that I had envisioned. We are both elated that we took on the challenge and did it. Now, it's time to listen to our bodies, admit our ages, and enjoy a quiet day. So, we did laundry and I finished the oatmeal packets we had been carrying with us. We will take the Road King and ride into town for lunch on the boardwalk, which I would have sung, but Linda threatened to swim to Saint John if I started! I suppose my voice is an acquired taste. We will also ride down to check out the ferry, as we have to arrive there at 7am tomorrow for an eight departure time. We' have dinner back at the Inn. Watched a seal play while laundry was going.
We walked the boardwalk and had lunch at The Boardwalk Cafe--scallops that melted in my mouth. Went into a local artist's shop and bought a few ceramic things plus a pot holder all of which are being shipped to the States. Went Down to the ferry. And saw it was less than three minutes from our Inn. Saw a guy in one of those reflective vests and approached him for information. Turned out he was the owner of the ferry and one heck of a nice guy. He even belly laughed when I told him Linda and I were prepared to tow the ferry out into the channel with our cycles, if needed!
Went back to the Inn, had dinner and did more laundry. Then loaded up the cycles for tomorrow.
If it sounds like a relaxed day, it was.

Posted by damienannaaiden 17:25 Archived in Canada Tagged day lazy Comments (0)

Digby

Last Port on the Trip

sunny 68 °F

It does get cold in the mornings here! We got up early and made the earliest exit to date, around seven thirty. There was a lot of fog to make the early part of the ride a bit freaky. My glasses kept fogging up so I just took them off. When you're dressed like Nonook of the North, it is quite a sight. We took the 215 and once the sun had burned away the fog, we were again amazed at the gorgeous. Views the awaited us around every turn. I have been on many coast highways where you really do not see that much water. This coast road provided us with endless views of the Bay of Fundy, beautiful farms, inlets, and mountains and valleys. When we crossed the bridge in South Maitland from where we saw the tidal bore the other day, the fog/mist was so dense, we had to stay very close just to see each other! But then, the fog lifted. We stopped at Burncoat, where there have been the highest Reported tidal changes in the world: 40-50 feet. We walked around, and though no one was around and the information center there was closed, it was well worth the time. The views were stunning; we were able to walk down to the rocks. You could see the tidal marks and just imagine what that must be like. The steep drop off edges provided us with yet another vertigo moment!
After close to an hour, we forced ourselves back onto the cycles and took off. We went through a beautiful community called Grand Pees and stopped at a coffee shop called "Just Us." Had great coffee and hot chocolate, plus our new found delicacy, oat cakes. We had
lEft the 215 and we're on Route 1. This was also a scenic road, but was also taking us through larger towns with those dreaded stop signs, traffic lights, and actual traffic. After awhile, we gave up and got on the highway. The 215, and other roads like it here, have neither stop signs nor traffic lights, and, as I have said before, except in Halifax, we really have not experienced traffic. Even the highways in Nova Scotia provide the rider with great scenic views. On this stretch of highway, we began seeing many more fellow motorcyclists, and the temperature had really warmed up. Went alongside some mountain ranges, and discovered my gps gave me elevation. We got off the highway at Annapolis Royal, another quaint and gorgeousg community by the sea. And then, we arrived in Digby. What a beautiful harbor with salmon farms, seals, lobster and scallop boats, and of course, the ferry. There is even a boardwalk. We parked, and again I realized that I had once again established myself as a rather unusual H.O.G. Rider. I had ridden this entire day with a bag of Toastitoes bungeed on the back of my luggage -- must have given the other motorcyclists a refreshrng pause! We parked our cycles and explored the town. Had lunch and went into several shops. Got Nova Scotia T-Shirts for the grand kids. So the headquarters of the annual Digby Wharf Rat Motorcycle Rally, which Harley promotes. They had close to 40,000 cycles this year. Huge event. Then we went to our Inn and found it is but three minutes from the ferry. Really gorgeous view of the bay from our window, and the dining room servesd a great dinner. Tomorrow night, I will taste what Digby is world famous for: Digby scallops!
We are tired. Probably will take it easy tomorrow . One cannot see everything in Noca Scotia there is to see in one visit. Have truly discovered that motorcycle traveling is different than automobile traveling. Have reall,y loved it, but should have set it up for more off-cycle time. We have only had one day completely off the cycles. Should be another great weather day tomorrow.

Posted by damienannaaiden 04:01 Archived in Canada Tagged wharf rat rally Comments (2)

Just Riding Around

More Tidal Bore

sunny 67 °F

I neglected to mention one important aspect from yesterday's ride back. Walter pulled over to the side of the highway at a very special geographic location and we all took pictures of us in front of the sign proclaiming Shubenacadie to be the halfway point between the Arctic Circle and the Equator. According to Walter, the original sign reversed the two spots. A couple we met at the tidal bore informed us that this fact had been seriously researched to verify the authenticity of this claim. Wow! And we stood right on that spot--another Columbus moment!
The reason we did not go to the waterfront in Halifax is because four cruise ships had docked there on one day. We did not want to contend with that mass of humanity!
Today, we awoke to brilliant sunshine, and a bit warmer. We headed off to South Maitland where we witnessed another tidal bore push up the Shubenacadie River. We stood atop a massive bridge to watch the bore arrive. This is a place where people come to white water raft the bore, and sure enough, one raft materialized. An amazing volume of water was rolling down the river. And once again, in less than 15 minutes, all of the mudflats that had been exposed were completely covered. And then, we saw a true whirlpool (not the appliance manufacturer) that had formed. And this was a much wider area than where we had been before. We have decided that tidal bores are one of the most awesome natural phenomena we have ever seen! Then, we raced back to the Inn to watch the tidal bore appear there.
We then collected ourselves and returned to the First Nation museum and sat through a fascinating movie. Looked at some petroglyphs in rock and some beautiful art work. They do a lot of quilling with porcupine quills.
Then we took off down Route 2 to Masstown--some teenager whited out the M (teens never change the world over). We came upon a place that had started out as a small ice cream and produce store. Now, it was a huge complex: a fresh seafood store in a lighthouse; a deli; an ice cream wing; a gift shop; a market; and a cafeteria. We had the best meal of the entire trip-- a seafood pie baked in seafood chowder--to die for!
That was the day. Definitely winding down. Tonight, we met the Nova Scotia angel who put this entire trip together for us, Diane. Had a great chat. So, tomorrow we head to Digby, with perhaps a stop in Burncoat, which we did not get to today.
One other thing I forgot to mention about the ride yesterday. Walter pointed out a huge gypsum mine we passed, where some years ago they discovered a mastodon skeleton. This was a shock for the pale otological community because mastodons were not supposed to be here. The skeleton was carted off to a museum and they built a mastodon statue to represent it.

Posted by damienannaaiden 14:31 Archived in Canada Tagged first nation Comments (0)

Halifax

The Scenic Route

sunny 52 °F

I was embarrassed! At the end of the day, I was worn out. And here, Nurse Naomi had worked the graveyard shift in surgery at the hospital, and she went along for the entire day's ride! Freakin nurses have shown me up again. And here, I had two nurses with whom to deal---Walter and I had no chance!
Let's go back to the beginning. We arose and checked the temperature, and both Linda and I wanted to crawl back under the covers: it was cold! Even the native Nova Scotians thought it was cold. We looked at each other and asked: are we men or are we mice? When I saw Linda open the fridge and bite on the cheese, the answer became clear! However, we drew upon those H.O.G. reserves and took hot showers and had nice hot cups of teas. Hot cups of tea have become a staple on this trip. Then, the process began. We put on between six and twenty layers of clothes. I had a ski mask type thingie under my helmet, and of course we donned our newly acquired warm gloves (mine are fire engine red with a silver reflective line--damn, I am a fashion statement!)
We received the call from our new friend Walter Prest (not Priest--Walter claims there is no priest in his family; however, he is known in Nova Scotia lore as the High Priest of backroad motorcycling--he rides a red softtail with his white gotee distinguishing his half helmet as he weaves around the roads of this beautiful land.). I think we were sort of hoping he might forget us so we would not turn into ice cubes! But there was his cheery voice on the phone, with that cute Nova Scotia accent, telling us he would meet us at the Esso gas station off exit 12 with his wife, Naomi, riding shotgun. What we did not realize was that this very special couple had decided to become our Halifax tour guides for the entire day (and never even asked for a tip!).
We met them at the Esso Station and Walter led us on a gorgeous back roads ride to Halifax. He took us down Route 2, winding roads through some beautiful residential areas in which we saw some incredible log cabins and post and beam homes. We winded alongside lakes and eventually picked up the highway after going through Dartmouth. One thing we encountered was that a bridge over which we were supposed to cross was closed, but this did not phase our fearless leader. He just led on, meandering like a river, over hill and dale. Once on the highway, Walter guided us to Privateer Harley-Davidson. Interesting place. Two floors. Crows Nests. And a painting of Johnny Depp's pirate ship! Of course, Linda helped me pick out a shirt and I got a patch. Have to say that the staff lacked the friendliness and attentiveness of Minuteman H-D!! Did find one salesman who did possess these qualities and discovered he was brand new! We then found a place for lunch. Took the highway back and and our guides led us right back to our room door! After saying good-by, we went inside our room and collapsed on the bed. It had been a cold day and we were more tired than we had realized. Once again, we ordered out for delivery, and had pasta primavera with shrimp. Then, we fell asleep.
What a great day, and we cannot thank Walter and Naomi enough. We expect them to come visit us in Punta Gorda so that we can reciprocate the hospitality.

Posted by damienannaaiden 14:00 Archived in Canada Tagged privateer Comments (0)

Tidal Bore

Monday

overcast 67 °F

Morning arrived. Still a bit sore from yesterday, but the legs were working. When I glanced out the window, I noticed a gorgeous sunrise. I took a hot shower, shaved and felt revived. Our plan was to take my cycle and drive the 3.5 km, park and walk down an embankment to a path from which we could watch the arrival of the daily tidal bore. We made a quick breakfast in our room, then headed out. Upon reaching the spot and we had been told to arrive at least 40 minutes early, we explored the area which was a tidal marsh. In days of old, the Acadians had settled here and built dykes to hold back the salt water that filled the muddy tidal flats every day. They set up a system within the dykes that allowed fresh water into the land but kept the salt water out. The land became extremely fertile. We met several people on the path that went all the way into downtown Truro. What we observed initially was an empty river basin, with some shallow pools of water. These mud flats had quite high sides. As we were talking to one couple from the area, Linda heard a noise and pointed to a bend where we saw an approaching 2-3 foot wave of water heading our way. In reality, the water within the channel had been moving out to sea but was now being pushed backwards by the incoming tide. It was an incredible sight, a part of nature, both geological and meteorological , and something we had never seen anything like before. The water was roiling and in less than fifteen minutes, the entire mudflats was covered with a flowing river of water. Linda took a video of the event. We hurried downstream, back to the Inn to watch it enter that area. We had thought about going to two areas about an hour away to see the same event and take a walking tour of the flats at lows tide, but it was too late and we decided to do it Wednesday. Burncoat is one of the places and has the highest reported tidal changes in the world, over forty feet. We had been told by the Inn owners that they had had some who were disappointed by the tidal bore because the time of month has a lot to do with the height and dynamicness of the tidal bore. Apparently, we were close enough to the full moon to give us what we saw. It was something we shall never forget and Linda posted her video on Facebook.
Still feeling some of the effects from our walking adventure in Victoria Park, we decided to take it easy today and head into town to do laundry again. When our clothes began to look like they could stand on their own, it became laundry time. We headed into town and found a coin laundry near the tourist information center we had visited yesterday. I took my I-Pad with me so I could read a little of Robert Parker's last novel from his Spencer series: "Sixkill." Linda loaded a machine (we just threw everything into one load, committing that laundry faux of mixing colors). Linda went out for coffee, and the young woman managing the laundromat told us about these delicious oat cakes dipped in chocolate that had my salivary glands working overtime. My luck, the coffee shop only receives them on Thursdays. I harassed the young lady, but as usual, Linda came to her rescue and I was the victim of female double-teaming!
By the time our laundry was done, I had completed several chapters and it was time for lunch. Seeking a true culinary treat, we ended up, of course, at McDonalds and truly enjoyed a McLobster Sandwich, a first for us. This, at least, made up for that horrid, emotionally destabilizing experience I encountered at the abridged McDonalds I had walked to in Quispamsit, New Brunswick. We hung around afterwards to meet up with Walter, a fellow Harley rider to whom I had been introduced by Dave, the web designer and manager for the Minuteman H.O.G. Chapter in Dartmouth, Ma. Walter rode in on a beautiful Softtail, and we had a great chat, followed by a photo op that he posted on Facebook and suitable for the cover of H.O.G. Magazine!!! He gave us some valuable insight into the area and told us some great stories about some of his riding experiences. We are getting together tomorrow and riding to Halifax, which should be a lot of fun, riding with a native Nova Scotian!
Then off we went in search of a couple of Nova Scotia mugs, as we are sick and tired of tea in styrofoam cups! This turned out to be more of a challenge than we expected, as most of the mugs Linda found truly would yield one a "spot of tea.". The trail led to the Indian museum where Linda came up with two moose mugs (that's a short aliteration). As she was leaving, so was a young woman who was a member of the "First Nation" and gave us a crash course on the Mi'kmaq tribe, native to Nova Scotia. They did not quite work out the same lucrative deal with the government that our Native Americans did. No casinos!
It started to rain, and we decided we weren't into riding out in rain later for dinner, so we did what any red blooded American would do, we picked up soup and sandwich from Subway and took them back to the Inn, covered the cycles and relaxed for the evening. Also set up to have dinner on Wednesday with Diane, our trip angel from the Nova Scotia Tourism Council. She is actually staying at the same Inn where we are now. We decided to spend one additional night here and reduce our stay in Digby by one night.
Well, now that I am caught up with the blog, I can hit the sack!

Posted by damienannaaiden 18:30 Archived in Canada Tagged laundry Comments (0)

Yeah Sun

Truro

sunny 70 °F

We jumped out of bed at 6am, our earliest awakening time on this trip. Had eggs, tea and oatmeal in the chalet. Loaded the cycles and were set to go before eight. Then, the gravel finally won, and I dropped my bike. A very nice man was coming out of his chalet and helped Linda and I lift the Road King. Unreal. Off we went, very carefully, and hit drizzle for awhile. More distracting was it was cold. Had to stop to put on my big jacket, and I already had a short-sleeved shirt, a turtle neck, my long sleeve Harley shirt, and my vest on plus my big cycle jacket. We ran into some light rain as we were cycling off Cape Breton Island. We crossed the causeway and the rain slowly stopped. We did take time to snap a couple of pictures, and then off to Truro, via highway.
Linda was in the lead, wearing her pink rain top--very easy to follow! Of course, her soft lead foot was a bit tougher to stay up with (she claimed she was racing to get out of the cold). We passed through Antigonish, home to relatives of our dear, recently departed friend Frank McGillivray, and we raised a hand to honor him. The ride took us four hours.
By the time we arrived in Truro, the sun had snuck out and the temperature had made it to seventy. Had. A bit of difficulty in finding our Inn, as when the GPS told us that we had arrived at our destination , we were in the middle of a residential neighborhood with no Inn in sight. We went back and forth several times, and finally stopped at a Super Motel 8 to ask directions. We got them and finally arrived at The Tidal Bore Inn. At first blush,
we were a bit taken aback by the physical appearance of the place, especially as compared to our previous lodgings. However, we have learned to "not judge a book by its cover," so, we drove in and met the owners. They turned out to be really nice and tremendously helpful. They have been extremely responsive and we have decided to remain here an extra night.
Once we had unloaded the cycles, we decided to visit Victoria Park. This 1000+ acre park is right in Truro, and has two water falls, many hiking trails, brooks, beautiful flowers, ball fields and is a fantastic natural resource for the community. We saw the falls; watched a teen jump from above them into the basin below (frowned upon by authorities, but incredible to watch) and climbed the famous Jacob's Ladder (780 steps straight up a steep hillside). This last tout at aging stupidity just about did me in! We got back on my cycle, returned to the Inn, and calapsed in bed, not even arising to eat dinner. But the Park was a delightful visit! Tomorrow, the tidal bore, if we can walk.

Posted by damienannaaiden 14:52 Archived in Canada Tagged feet sore Comments (0)

Heaven

Saturday

rain

For the first time since leaving Mattapoisett on the 8th, we were not on the cycles. In fact, we did absolutely nothing, nada, zip, zero! We stayed in our chalet and listened to the music of the falling rain, checked out the mist and fog over the mountains, lay in bed, read, and watched some football.
We needed it. Head to Truro tomorrow. Packed everything before bed.

Posted by damienannaaiden 18:06 Archived in Canada Tagged & r Comments (1)

Conquering The World Famous Cabot Trail

Yeah Us!

rain 40 °F

Was sitting here early evening when suddenly I heard my phone break out in our wake up alarm--it was 6:30PM--where the heck was it at 6:30AM when it was supposed to go off!! Had a great night's sleep and found it tough to eagerly leap from the bed with a motivational smile when it was still dark outside and the sky was covered with rain clouds and could distinguish fog. Whose idea was this Cabot Trail---had to be Linda's! I vaguely remember Linda shaming me out of bed. The good news was that it was the first time since we left Mattapoisett last Sunday that we did not have to pack up all our luggage and load the cycles (which is really quite a process, though we have gotten pretty darn good at it). This marked our sixth straight day of major cycling. Glad we did laundry yesterday! Had a banana, oatmeal, and tea here at the chalet for breakfast, and then we uncovered the babies and at 8:30 ventured forth, doing the Cabot Trail clockwise. Why clockwise, because the views of the seascapes are more visible. Initially, both of us were having trouble believing we were really finally doing this. This was really why we did this trip. What did we learn: we definitely do not have friskadepaphobia!!!

Friday the 13th and WE DID IT!!!! We did the entire Cabot Trail, and in inclement weather to boot!!! Took all day. We are worn out. The concentration required was unreal. The first half was foggy, cold, rainy, and very windy. The second half was warmer, no rain, some wind gusts, and overcast. The scenery was spectacular and out of this world. So many hairpin curves. We stopped for lunch, many pee stops (thank my prostate), and some pictures. The weather and narrow road made picture taking difficult. Furthermore, I was surprised that being a true motorcycle mecca, most of the shoulders and scenic turnouts are dirt and gravel-- not all that stable for motorcycles! Then, to top it off, for at least three miles through Cheticamp, we had to endure grooved road. I hate that! There were some parts of the trail where the road was bad, uneven and bumpy; but that was rare. The mountain climbs and steep descents consisted of multiple S turns that were quite challenging at 45 mph. Though these did not seem to phase Linda. I always seemed to be playing catch-up! The mountain views and the deep valleys with dense woodlands up to the mountain tops and roiling streams at the base with a few cascading waterfalls were incredible. Then there were the mountain faces looking like abstract art, etched out of solid rock. We got to see sedimenary rock (a mere 250 million years old), ignacious rock (550 million years old), and metamorphic (only 850 million years old)---eat your hearts out Geologists! And the seascapes were something impossible to accurately describe. Only saw about five other motorcyclists brave enough to take on the challenge today. However, we saw thirty to forty bicyclists doing the trail and they certainly gained my admiration. I sincerely don't have a clue how they do one mountain climb after another. This would rival the tour de France! Linda has been amazed by the plethora of accents we have heard here on Cape Breton. The cycles are now covered; we are hunkered down awaiting Gabriel who is supposed to arrive tonight around two and soak us tomorrow with winds much like the first half of today. So, we read; play some dominoes; maybe watch some tube; and relive the glory of today as we purchased a 90 minute video of the Cabot Trail. And to make everything right in the world, the Pats somehow beat the Jets last night and we watched it here. Leave Sunday for Truro. Dinner is here in our chalet, as well as all meals tomorrow. Having seafood chowder and salad tonight; oatmeal and eggs and toast for breakfast; grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch; and god knows what for dinner!  Amazing how tired we are!

Posted by damienannaaiden 16:35 Archived in Canada Tagged the world famous trail conquering cabot Comments (0)

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